It would be an understatement to say that last night’s draft was dry and uninteresting; most of the players drafted went roughly where they were projected to go and – with the lack of talent entering the 2011 NBA Draft – there wasn’t much to get excited about to begin with. So, instead of focusing in on what went down last night I figured I would look forward; present an outlook and make some predictions for each conference. Which players are going to have an impact? Which of last year’s bottom-teer teams are looking to run their competition? How will each division shake out? These are all valid questions that we are all bound to be asking in the wake of any draft, so without further adieu…here we go – note that the predictions are not taking into account future injuries, trades, suspensions, etc.
Boston – (JuJuan Johnson, E’Tauwn Moore) – I think this Purdue one, two punch will help the aging Celtics.
New York – (Iman Shumpert) – New York will be a little better than last year because they will have had Melo the whole year..still not as good as Boston.
New Jersey – (Jordan Williams, MarShon Brooks) – This is a much better Nets team, in my opinion, than last year. With Deron Williams at point they could really compete with some of the other good teams in the league. Brooks really really really needs to improve his defense though.
Philadelphia – (Nikola Vucevic, Lavoy Allen) – If Andre Iguodala leaves, they are definitely screwed. They wouldn’t have enough fire power to get the job done.
Toronto – (Jonas Valancuinas) – I hate to say it but nothing can help this ‘black-hole’. I usually hear about the Raptors on Sportscenter MAYBE once a year.
Chicago – (Jimmy Butler, Malcolm Lee, Nikola Mirotic, Bojan Bogdanovic) – Clearly the draft was not going to matter for last year’s best regular season team, so – without hesitation – I put them at the top of this division.
Indiana – (Davis Betrans) – They didn’t really see much of the draft effects because they got rid of Kahwi Leonard, but this team proved to be more than decent at the end of last season.
Cleveland – (Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Justin Harper) – So many question about the young talent now in Cleveland, I feel like they will prove to be solid maybe delivered over a .500 season to Cleveland.
Milwaukee – (Jon Leuer, Tobias Harris) – I was very optimistic about the chance the Bucks had for being a good team once the season rolled around, but losing Fredette and Salmons in order to pick up an iffy Tobias Harris was not a rational decision. However they did pick up Stephen Jackson, for them it’s a ‘chose your poison’ type of scenario.
Detriot – (Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, Vernon Macklin) – Although they had some major problems last year, I like the guard play from Brandon Knight to do wonders for this team. However they don’t have enough to get the job done often.
Miami – (Norris Cole) – This is the only sure pick I am willing to make..I believe Miami will be there in June again.
Orlando – (DeAndre Liggins) – Again, no trades taken into account, because if Howard leaves then this quickly becomes one of the worst teams in this division.
Washington – (Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton, Shelvin Mack) – This is my surprise pick! They had a really nice draft and are now very versatile on both ends of the floor with Singleton and Vesely
Atlanta – (Keith Benson) – By far one of the most inconsistent teams down the stretch, so it’s hard to predict where the Hawks will fall.
Charlotte – (Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, Jeremy Tyler) – Even Charlotte will not be that bad this year, Michael Jordan is trying to get this team to be a playoff team, but I don’t see it happening this year.
* (News additions via the draft)
Surprise Teams: In the Eastern conference I see two teams going from pretenders to contenders; they are the Washington Wizards and the New Jersey Nets. Now, for the most part, rookie – I understand – do not make that big of an impact, but I think that the Wizards picked 3 last night that really could. Shelvin Mack can hit shots, Chris Singleton is a lock-down defender, and Jan Vesely is one of the taller Small Forwards I have seen for some time. They will clearly contribute to what John Wall and JaVale McGee are trying to put together right now in DC.
On the other hand you’ve got the New Jersey Nets who, again last year, did not do too hot. The Nets acquired Deron Williams and I’m sure the organization was proud of their inquiry, however no team can win with just one all-star. Now with their latest additions the Nets have put themselves in a great position to control the boards – with Jordan Williams – and push the break to score the basketball. They could be a hit or miss but I think New Jersey fans should be optimistic about their Nets and enjoy what they are doing for the state because they are about to depart to Brooklyn.